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UJNSQ-035 | 2021-05-28  
Rachel Langlais is a musician, a multiinstrumentalist (see Borja Flames, Vagina Town, Boy and the Echo Choir...) and a composer. Whether playing live or for the record, she freely explores various aesthetics ranging
from the innovating pop music of Pyjamarama to the “ZADist” Rn’B of Infinite Summer and the quadraphonic oddity named La Colonie de Vacances.
In 2017, she registered in a training programme to become a piano tuner and got her degree, thus having
new opportunities to learn more about harmonisation, tone balance and acoustics. This occupation, which
is both manual and intellectual, adds to her artistic culture.
Dothe, a first solo album
Composed, played, recorded and mixed by Rachel Langlais, Dothe is an album that was built around two
upright pianos, which she tuned and played differently. In line with John Cage and his prepared pianos,
Rachel Langlais relies on this broad practice which consists in modifying the very nature of the sounds a
piano makes by applying various materials directly onto the strings (paper, metal objects, pieces of wood,
adhesive tape, plastic…). She completes her approach to the prepared piano with diverse recording and
digital processing techniques (cut, slowdown) turning Dothe into a contemporary experiment.
The title was borrowed from Ursula K. Le Guin’s science-fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), in
which “dothe” is a nervous hysterical strength that can be controlled and that is practised by some
inhabitants of a planet called Gethen. After using dothe, the body must take a rest called “thangen.”
A visual universe echoing the repetitive organic patterns that shape this album was conceived by graphic
designer and silk-screen printer Damien Tran.
Damien Tran makes posters, animation short films, fanzines and art books. His work has been exhibited
around Europe, the UK and the US. For Dothe, he imagined a back-to-front cover, credits thus appearing on
the front with a choice of colours playing on harmonious and jarring associations, while the back cover is
minimal, without any text.
As part of this project, Damien Tran also directed the video for Comme le canard, an image-by-image
animation film in which geometric and organic forms develop and evolve in response to Rachel Langlais’s
percussive touch. Somewhere between the work of Norman McLaren, a pioneer of animation, and Steven
Woloshen’s Cameras Take Five, Damien Tran was happy to explore and experiment with the links between
music and cinema.

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